Democrats' Impeachment Witness Has Some Explaining to Do

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Posted: May 14, 2020 8:45 PM
Democrats' Impeachment Witness Has Some Explaining to Do

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified before Congress that her knowledge about corrupt Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings and Hunter Biden's lucrative position on the board came only from what she read in press reports and a briefing she received by the Obama State Department ahead of her Senate confirmation hearing. But newly uncovered documents show the former ambassador's knowledge of the two subjects was much greater than she told Congress under oath. 

Citizens United obtained State Department emails this week showing former Ambassador Yovanovitch was involved in discussions regarding Burisma and even attended a meeting with representatives of the company, contradicting her testimony before Congress. The new documents were first reported by investigative journalist John Solomon. 

According to Solomon, the unearthed emails show the ambassador and her staff were engaged in discussions and meetings with Burisma as the energy company scrambled to settle a corruption investigation before the inauguration of President Trump.

(Via Just the News

Yovanovitch, for instance, was specifically warned in an email by her top deputy in September 2016 — three years before her testimony — that Burisma had hired an American firm with deep Democratic connections called Blue Star Strategies to “rehabilitate the reputation” of the Ukrainian gas firm and that it had placed “Hunter Biden on its board,” the memos show.

She also met directly with a representative for Burisma in her embassy office, less than 45 days before Trump took office, a contact she did not mention during her impeachment deposition.

The discussions about Burisma inside Yovanovitch’s embassy were so extensive, in fact, that they filled more than 160 pages of emails, memos and correspondence in fall 2016 alone, according to the State Department records obtained under FOIA by the conservative group Citizens United.

The contacts included a detailed private letter hand-delivered to Yovanovitch by one of Burisma’s lawyers in September 2016, a briefing later that month from her staff on Burisma’s issues, and a meeting scheduled between the ambassador and a Burisma representative shortly before Christmas 2016 as the Obama administration was preparing to leave office.

During her testimony, Yovanovitch appeared to contradict herself as she downplayed her knowledge about Burisma and the Biden family's conflict of interest. Yovanovitch testified, neither "[Joe Biden] nor the previous administration ever raised the issue of Burisma or Hunter Biden with me." But, under questioning by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the former ambassador clarified the Obama administration prepared her to answer questions specifically about Hunter Biden and Burisma during her Senate confirmation hearing.

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In a Fox News interview with Laura Ingraham, Solomon said the new evidence indicates one of two things about the former ambassador's testimony: "She falsely testified knowing she had these contacts. The second is she didn't review her documents before she testified, and it was a proceeding where we were removing the president of the United States possibly." 

So the former ambassador is either lazy or a liar. Trump was right to fire her. 

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